FOR: FREEMAN & FREEMAN
Personal Injury Law Firm Freeman & Freeman Warns of Privacy Threats by Insurance CompaniesMAY 7, 2012 - 06:00 ET
Facebook Friend or Trojan Horse? Social Media Users Beware
WOODLAND HILLS, CA--(Marketwire - May 7, 2012) - Southern California personal injury law firm Freeman & Freeman today issued a warning to social media users: "Don't be your own 'star witness' for the defense when posting information on your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or other social media site." Stan Freeman, a partner at the firm, states, "Now more than ever, plaintiffs have to beware of what they say and do when using social media sites. An innocent plaintiff can be his own worst enemy when it involves sharing information that does not need to be shared."
As co-cofounder of the Martindale-Hubbell top rated personal injury law firm of Freeman & Freeman, Attorney Stan Freeman points out that it is now standard procedure for insurance companies to use information obtained on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in their investigations. By doing so, he says certain information that is shared can then be used to discredit and reject claims filed by injured and disabled accident victims.
"Insurance companies are armed with sophisticated technology that can access information even when you believe it is secure," states Attorney Freeman. "In fact, whatever you write or post can be obtained by the defense attorney or insurance company -- with or without your knowledge or permission."
To gain access to this information, Freeman says investigators will go undercover to "friend" or "follow" you, then read your blogs. If they can't gain access by themselves, they will try to use your existing connections as a "Trojan Horse" to access your social media sites. They will then use any activities you post at trial to discredit and defeat your legitimate injury claims.
Partner Steve Freeman points to a case they recently handled representing a client who suffered a severe herniated disk in her back from a car accident. "When her daughter married in December, she attempted to wear moderate heels for the ceremony. When the wedding photos were posted, the defense disputed her entire injury claim based on this one single event -- the wearing of heels at her daughter's wedding."
In another example, a grandmother with a neck and back injury from a pedestrian accident was photographed bending over to hug her grandchild. The insurance company's attorneys obtained the photo from Facebook and tried to claim that she did not appear to be hurt in the photo. "In reality," says Steve Freeman, "she was in a lot of pain and had limited or stopped most of her activities."
In the real world, people who suffer a significant injury or become disabled do not simply stay in bed all day. They try to participate in occasional, normal activities such as dining out, walking the dog, picking up their children at school, or going on a weekend trip.
To protect clients and the general public, the attorneys at Freeman & Freeman advise the following:
1. Make sure all social media settings are on "private."
2. Do not accept invitations from strangers on social media outlets.
3. Do not post photos or videos of yourself or enable others to "tag" you.
4. Do not send emails or post texts about your case to anyone except your attorneys.
Partner Stan Freeman adds, "While social media sites can be a lot of fun to use, postings can cause problems when clients inadvertently share private information. Our goal is to better protect 'would-be victims' from any further harm."
Freeman & Freeman, LLP has over 35 years of experience representing personal injury and wrongful death accident cases throughout Southern California. Offering free consultations, 24/7, the firm is known for its integrity, experience, commitment and results. Freeman & Freeman is located at 21900 Burbank Boulevard in Woodland Hills, CA. For more information, please visit: www.freeman-freeman.com.
Freeman & Freeman, LLP
Tel: (818) 992-2919